The Society acknowledges the traditional owners of the Irwin Districts, their continuing connection to land, sea and community and pays its respects to elders and their cultures, past and present.

Foreshore Submission from IDHS

Port Denison Foreshore Concept Masterplan, Revision G


These comments refer to the strategies and illustrated plans provided in the Concept.

Note: The original file is not available for download due to its size of 50mB.

Masterplan, undated, Revision G, received by the IDHS on 8 March 2021, after viewing Revision F, dated November 2020, received on 24 February 2021 and which was also viewed by several IDHS members at the Shire planning day on 4 March 2021.  Our comments relate only to the natural and cultural heritage aspects of the scheme.

Generally, we do not oppose the strategies and actions outlined (unless specifically stated), but instead have suggested amended or additional strategies and actions for your consideration or highlighted issues that may need further consideration.  


No disagreement with objectives, although the 5th principle could recognise greater historical diversity – we suggest a more thematic and chronological approach of 

  • Arurine Bay before 1865, 
  • the Commercial Port 1860s-1900s, 
  • the Seaside Resort 1900s-1960s, 
  • the Crayfishing Harbour 1950s-2000s
  • Contemporary 2010s+.  

These themes have all left material evidence in the foreshore landscape.  We also suggest an additional objective of retaining and regenerating the natural heritage of the foreshore and littoral waters.

Vision and key features

No disagreement with using curves and mounds for natural character, and linear shapes and forms for human interventions – the key curving natural alignment is the crescent shape of the foreshore or south-eastern shore of Arurine Bay, and this needs to be reinforced not obscured.  The key overall human form is the 1867 town plan grid that is segmented to follow the curve of the bay, and from which the key cross streets historically extended to the waters’ edge (until obscured in recent years).  Figure 1 shows this unifying framework.

No disagreement with the five precincts as defined, especially the boundary between the Park and Core precincts that aligns with William Street, and the boundary between the Boat Ramp and Obelisk precincts that aligns with George Street, reflecting the underlying logic of the town plan.  On the other hand, the distinction between Grannies Beach and Foreshore Park precincts seems a bit arbitrary?  Grannies Beach is to the north of the roundabout and does not really extend into the harbour.  Also, the Obelisk precinct might be more coherent if its northern edge was Herbert Street, and the area between Herbert and George streets was made a sixth precinct (the Landing Place Precinct?).

Areas of natural foreshore vegetation in the Obelisk and Boat Ramp precincts are excluded from the plan, but included within the other precincts – we suggest they all be included for consistency.  The excluded areas are the only surviving areas of natural coastal vegetation on the foreshore, and they should not be incrementally lost as has happened in the other precincts.

The promenade as a concept is supported, is consistent with the 1st, 3rd and 4th principles, and reflects a continuing historical practice of walking the foreshore (and, formerly, the jetty) by residents and visitors that spans all of the 20th and 21st century historic phases.  We note no details are provided of the paving surface or design.  We suggest consideration be given to naming it the Arurine Bay [Promenade/Esplanade/Corso/ Lido/etc], ideally with a bilingual Nhanda/English form.

It would be useful to show, as a layer in the plans, the Local and State heritage items to demonstrate that none of their defined cultural heritage values are being reduced, or if they are, how that is being offset.  We are particularly concerned that the Obelisk, the William Street Jetty ruins, and the Fig Tree avenue should be clearly identified as heritage items to assist those who will implement the plan.

It would also be helpful to indicate in the plans what structures and landscapes will be removed – notably the Hacienda (the brick shelter in the Core precinct, built 1969) and its curving sea wall (the first sea wall constructed on the foreshore, built 1969), some of the car parks (recent), apparently some of the small picnic shelters in the Obelisk and Foreshore Park precincts, the wire mesh fence now along the Core precinct foreshore, and so on.  This will enable residents to be clearly informed  about what is being kept and what is let go.

The precinct plans refer to ‘low height planting’ – we think it would be better (if this is the case) to specify that the low height planting is ‘local coastal regeneration’, using species and/or involve regeneration of local coastal species and systems, and include the active removal and control of invasive weed species such as Sicilian sea lavender (Limonium spp), which threatens to spread to the Estuary, and lawn grasses (mainly couch and kikuyu.

The extent of lawn growing on the foreshore and around the Obelisk is a recent municipal intervention and is both a weed risk for the surviving coastal vegetation and requires a significant quantity of fresh water, in an environment where fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce.  We suggest (in the design principles?) that a principle be stated that no further lawn is to be planted and that existing water usage is carefully monitored with an aim of reducing water use/waste on growing extensive lawns on beach sand.  Lush manicured green lawns on public land are a contemporary intervention, not a historic characteristic of Port Denison, and they need to be contained, their further spread deterred and alternatives identified.

It would also be useful to include some reference to the need for continuing maintenance of built structures and regenerated landscapes once they have been installed or completed.  Doing it once and just leaving it is not a sustainable management strategy.

We support measures for increasing universal access for all people to the foreshore, and refer you to guides such as Access to Heritage Places Guidelines (2018) and Easy Access to Historic Landscapes (2013) for designing such access to heritage places.  Although neither is WA-specific, the guidance and principles are relevant to the foreshore.

Figure 1: showing the underlying design framework for Port Denison of the crescent-curve of Arurine Bay and the 1867 Town Plan grid.

Original town plan showing the segmented grid following the bayside curve and key thoroughfares of William and Herbert streets from Phelps Survey 1867.

State Records office, Cons 3868 Item 092_141

Key navigation points around Arurine Bay, showing the natural curve of the shoreline and key points on Herbert and William streets, and the largely intact townscape a century after the 1867 town plan

21 February 1966,, State Records Office, PWDWA Plan 42808

Details by each Precinct

Grannies Beach Precinct

Key design considerations: 

The design considerations are generally agreed with.  We suggest, with particular regard to the 3rd and 8th considerations, an alternative design for your consideration.

Other considerations:

Implementing the 3rd and 8th points could be achieved by replacing the current vertical sea wall with a stepped sea ‘wall’ that replicates the natural landform of the Grannies Beach cove (see Figure 2).  We do acknowledge that the landform, and indeed Grannies Beach as a place, has only existed since the completion of the breakwater in 1979, but the previous shoreline had a similar coastal foredune form.

The stepped sea wall could occupy the whole area above the beach, between the harbour breakwater and the rubble sea wall to the north, and be curved on plan.  An elliptical curve of the stepped wall could connect with the proposed promenade, as indicated in Figure 2, which illustrates an example of the sort of curved, stepped wall suggested, in this case in Barangaroo Reserve on Sydney Harbour.

Figure 2: the form of Grannies Beach foreshore in 1996,  before construction of the vertical sea wall

Image source: Thungarra in Black & White: 31

Figure 3: An example of a stepped and curved sea ‘wall’, although for Grannies Beach this would merge into the beach sand rather directly into the sea


Using a stepped form would allow for the kinetic energy of the waves to be dissipated rather than crashing against and undermining the vertical wall.  It would also provide an additional area for sitting or reclining for beachgoers, and would be able to incorporate the ramp and accessible matting shown in your design drawing, either on one side or in the centre of the steps.  Connecting the stepped wall to the promenade would also allow for the removal of some of the lawn directly adjacent to the beach.

The form would replicate the older foreshore, and the material could be of a colour that reflects that of either the natural beach sand or the natural limestone features of the Irwin coast such as the ‘ledges of Leander Point.  Unlike the image in Figure 2, a stepped, curving wall at Grannies would merge into the beach sand rather than directly into the water except in very high tides or storm events.

Foreshore Park Precinct

Key design considerations: 

The design considerations are generally agreed with, but note our earlier comments on controlling the extent of lawns and lawn watering on beach sand.

Other considerations:

William Street is a key street in the 1867 Town Plan that historically extended to and connected with the William Street Jetty (ruins).  We suggest that Pavilion be moved to the Location 1 Option, and replaced with an open plaza on the William Street axis.  The framed view concept from Location Option 2 could be retained on the William Street + Jetty axis with a free-standing portal structure between the plaza and jetty ruin.  The portal shape could be a square or rectangular frame reflecting the jetty forms, or circular like a porthole to reflect the local maritime character  There would be other options, and these are just indicative.

We note that the Shipwreck Walk is not shown nor is its removal referenced – see our suggestion in ‘Boat Ramp Precinct – Other Considerations’.

The Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative (GFC) Building on the western side of the precinct (greyed-out area) is to be adapted partly as the Museum of Fishing and the Sea (MOFAS) over the next 18-24 months.  We are a partner in that project. We suggest that a principle be adopted that views from Point Leander Drive across the overflow parking lawn, and vice versa, should not be obscured or lost to tall or dense vegetation, specimen trees excepted.

Foreshore Core Precinct

Key design considerations: 

This is the precinct subject to the most change (see Figs 4 and 5), including the loss of the Hacienda (shelter).  

We note that it is proposed to reclaim part of the harbour along the entire precinct shoreline that will, in effect, almost double the land area of the precinct, as indicated in Figure 4.  

We suggest this needs more explicit public discussion as it will, in effect:

  1. be a major change to the beachscape, 
  2. be a major expansion of the watered lawn area, 
  3. be a further incremental loss of the harbour waters to land reclamation, 
  4. be a further hardening of the shoreline, and 
  5. continue the incremental obscuring, by ad hoc reclamations, of the natural crescent shape of the Arurine Bay shore.  

Other considerations:

Move pavilion to Option 1 site: see ‘Foreshore Park Precinct – Other Considerations – William Street’, page 7; and move playground to southern side of Pavilion Option 1 site: see further below, because this is the site of Denison Hall, demolished in 2019.

We suggest the Denison Hall site be part of William Street plaza, with the former ground plan, tram tracks and platforms interpreted through distinctive paving as part of the plaza.  This could include some simple, transparent shelters for seating, each containing interpretive plaques or artwork telling key stories of the Hall and plaza ‘sub-precinct’.  

These key stories could be drawn from the themes we suggest on page 1, and would include the story of the loss of Denison Hall.

We suggest consideration could also be given to locating a central sculptural artwork on the William Street axis that interprets a key storied element, such as shown in Figure 6. ted-the-waiting-woman/

We suggest sea walls generally be similar in form to the stepped sea wall described in Grannies Beach Precinct, rather than vertical walls, to reflect the natural form of the foreshore that has been lost in the last few years.  This would be in keeping with the overall objectives of the plan.  

Foreshore Core Precinct – Pavilion

Move pavilion to Option 1 site

We have no objection to the pavilion design as such, only to its location as shown on the plan, which is the approaches and abutment area of the William Street Jetty (LHS No 083). 

The pavilion could still function as a civic space in this location, framing views over the proposed beach pool.

There is some precedent for the pavilion roof design in this precinct.  The change rooms and toilet block on the Core and Boat Ramp precincts boundary, built in the 1960s (then on the shoreline), originally had a modernist floating folded concrete roof structure.  Unfortunately this has been replaced by a standard low gable roof form.  

Foreshore Core Precinct – Playground

Move playground to southern side of Pavilion Option 1 site

We have no objections to the references to crayfishing, boats and maritime themes in the playground design, only to its location as shown on the plan, which is the site of Denison Hall (LHS 070) and LHS items 087 (Site of tennis courts and bush shelter) and 069 (Site of Pearse’s Warehouse)

– note that we have provided comment to the Shire in its LHS review for a consolidated LHS item 087 called ‘Old Denison Foreshore and Avenues of Fig Trees Precinct’, a copy of which is at Attachment 1. 

The plan indicates, whether the precinct is considerably widened through reclamation, that there is plenty of space for the playground location south of Pavilion Option 1.  This location would also visually and functionally connect it with the proposed beach pool.  This would be consistent with the historical uses of this area for swimming and foreshore recreation between 1959 and 2000 when the Samuel Street Jetty and its swimming platforms was in place (see Figure 5).  It would also be a logical connection in terms of recreational uses and supervision of children, and potential for future expansion across Point Leander Drive into the jinker park, rather than being located within the western viewshed of the hotel beer garden as currently shown on the plan.

Boat Ramp Precinct

Key design considerations: 

We generally support the design considerations except the 8th point (provide pathways to the beach).  In isolation, the point is reasonable, but the plan shows these pathways cutting through the surviving coastal vegetation. 

We suggest that the approach for this strip of coastal vegetation should be to retain it intact, rather than fragment it by cutting new paths through it.  The paths will provide further routes for lawn, weed and rubbish invasion, destroy habitat and further degrade the surviving natural heritage of the foreshore.  See our comments at ‘Vision and Key Features – natural foreshore vegetation’.

Other considerations:

George Street is an important street in the 1867 Town Plan that historically extended to and connected with the beach, and also provided access to the sandhills and the Common to the south-east of the town.  The George Street alignment marks the boundary between the Boat Ramp and Obelisk precincts in the plan, and we suggest it be more prominently interpreted in the landscape treatment, for example by different coloured or textured paving of the path connecting the promenade to the Point Leader Drive path, and naming the path George Lane or George Path or similar with an in situ name plate.

Shipwreck walk plaques – see our comments at ‘Foreshore Park Precinct – other considerations’. 

One option for the shipwreck walk plaques is that they could be placed here on plinths, or an extended kerb-plinth separating the promenade from the coastal bushland, along the promenade in this precinct.  They would be relevant to the character of the precinct for launching and mooring vessels, conveying a sense of warning to careless mariners, and retaining the sense of a ‘walk’ from the original Shipwreck Walk.

Signs in this precinct are numerous and scattered around the foreshore.  As a principle, signs should be grouped together and we suggest you include a principle to prevent the spread of numerous signs, or ‘sign blight’.  Signs should be located so as not to interfere with or obscure views into the harbour, and signage overall should be kept to a necessary minimum and not impact on the perceived picturesque character of the place.  The same comment also applies to Grannies Beach.

Obelisk Precinct (overall plan)

Key design considerations: 

There seems to be some conflict between these considerations.  For instance, ‘provide additional car parking’ and ‘formalising beach access for cars’ versus ‘provide a setting that promotes self-exploration and discovery’, or ‘enhancing interpretation of the cultural and historic heritage of the Obelisk’ versus ‘providing for a café/restaurant and visitors centre’.  Although not necessarily conflicted in themselves, the actual realisation of these considerations in the plan points to tensions between them that are not easily resolvable.

We strongly support the 5th design consideration to include reference to the Sandhills Obelisk in the interpretive treatment of the Obelisk site.

Our comments on this precinct are separated into Obelisk and Landing Place sub-precincts

Obelisk Precinct (Obelisk sub-precinct)

Key design considerations:

We strongly suggest that a key consideration has to be the Obelisk’s contemporary purpose as a memorial to fishers lost at sea

Its adaptation as a memorial in 1979 prevented it being despoiled as was its companion, the Sandhills Obelisk, and its role as a memorial is a result of a significant emotional and spiritual investment by the local community.  The obelisk’s historical role as a navigation beacon and its contemporary role as a memorial to fishers lost at sea are complementary roles, with one evolving from the other, and this significance needs to be referenced in the design considerations.

We also strongly suggest that a key consideration is the Obelisk’s social and cultural role as a symbol of Port Denison’s identity. 

Figure 7 shows some of the representations of the Obelisk in local culture and its evolving meanings over time, and Attachment 2 setting out the IDHS comments to the Shire on the Local Heritage Survey review concerning the Obelisks also refers to these matters of significance and identity.

Figure 7: Representations of the Leander Point Obelisk as a symbol of Port Denison’s identity

Landing Place and Obelisk, Port Denison, Oil on Tin, by Tom Reynolds, c1910

“A winding street with its row of cottages – such is Port Denison or Dongara Beach.  No sooner is this cosy spot approached – and this is done quite suddenly upon rounding a hillock at the northern end of the street than the eye drinks in its beauty. At this end of the street the visitor declares the scene charming.  At the other southernmost end, he swears the spot magnificent. Here one is standing on a gentle eminence commanding the widest imaginable expanse of water locked in between the misty shadow of the Greenough coast line to the north; the illusive appearance of the Abrolhos to the northwest and the distant blue waters of Jurien Bay to the [south]ward.

On this prominence, too, is the stone obelisk that guided ships to the jetty before the Geraldton harbour was built. One mile inland, set prominently on the brow of the highest sand hill, is to be seen a twin obelisk. By taking these two land marks in line south-west from the sea, the coasting vessels steered into the channel and entered the little port. … Dongara port has passed away, and now the weathering years have made a ghostly structure of the two obelisks which languidly point skywards, envious of the rival port 40 miles north, yet to be envied themselves for the silent stories they have to tell … Dongara is a summer resort today with some attractions, foremost amongst them being the beach. It sinks gradually, smoothly, showing the firm sandy floor through the green crystal fluid … Swimming, fishing, charming vistas; all these are never-to-be forgotten memories of Dongara today”

Extract from ‘Dongara Charms Are Extolled’, by Benedictine monk Dom William OSB, 

West Australian, 20 December 1952: 19

These two considerations need to be taken seriously otherwise the Obelisk is reduced to a mere lookout in need of tidying up. This would miss its fundamental cultural and social significance.

Other considerations:

A cross-section drawing of the proposed Obelisk treatment is needed, as it is difficult to comprehend on plan.  We assume that the proposed circular drive around the Obelisk will be either cut into the obelisk knoll, like a cutting or subway, or alternately, the plan could indicate an enlarged platform around the Obelisk, with a driveway ascending from/ descending to Point Leander Drive?  This needs to be clarified.

Either way, we suggest a question of whether vehicle access from the street level to the Obelisk remains either necessary or sustainable? 

The stairs and accessible pathways indicate that direct access for all can be provided without parking areas on the knoll.  That would be consistent with the 3rd and 4th objectives of the overall plan and the 6th and 8th considerations for the precinct.  Our concern is that the larger the parking area/platform becomes, the more obscuring there will be of views to the Obelisk, especially close-up views from the southern foreshore.  Over time, the scale of the parking area/platform and supporting revetments or retaining walls and fencing will visually overwhelm the Obelisk.  Being able to clearly see the Obelisk is a key part of understanding its history and significance in maritime navigation and memorialisation.  There is also a concern that enlarging the parking platform from its present size will, in future, lead to demands for its further enlargement (it has already been previously enlarged).  Is confining vehicle parking to the street level a viable option that could be further explored?  Perhaps options for the Obelisk treatment could be provided, as is done with the proposed Pavilion in the Park and Core precincts, to encourage more informed decision making.

It seems that the current grassy (couch) slope on the southern side of the Obelisk knoll is to be regenerated with local coastal species, but we suggest this needs to be specifically stated to avoid any misinterpretation in applying the plan.

We note the inclusion of a floating or over-water restaurant and a visitor centre.  We strongly suggest both be removed from the plan. 

The natural character of Leander Point as a rocky ledge with a form visually similar to many of the Abrolhos Islands (see Figure 8) has already been considerably reduced by extensive paving, kerbing, land fill (at least two metres in depth in some places) and the stone block and steel rail fence on its northern edge (not to mention the breakwater).  

Our concern is that this loss of character will be further exacerbated by a restaurant that will invariably require more private car parking on the Point (and so loss of public car spaces), has potential for waste spillage and rubbish disposal directly into harbour, and will mean the loss of the last surviving coastal bushland on northern side of the Leander Point ledges, which is already under considerable pressure (see Figure 9).  This would directly contradict other vision and precinct considerations, as noted earlier.

The floating restaurant would also, we suggest, block or obscure views from the harbour to the Obelisk, especially in combination with the proposed visitor centre and the new private development (‘boutique apartments’) in Herbert Street. 

The combination of these three elements, plus the raising of the level of the car park on Leander Point (see Figure 9), and the incremental loss of the Landing Place to reclamation (see further below), will completely change the character and obscure, and in some cases actually destroy, historic fabric on the harbour side of the Obelisk.  The landscape depicted in Figure 10 will be fundamentally altered.  

The rationale for a visitor centre (is this a bill board, or a building – this is not clear from the plan) is unclear to us, especially in this location, when the visitor has already arrived in Denison.  There is a staffed visitor centre in Dongara (recently relocated to the Shire office), a visitor information bay at the Moreton Terrace entrance into Dongara, numerous tourist services signs on approaching Dongara, and local accommodation providers and other businesses carry visitor information brochures, advice, etc.  Conversely, visitor information at the Kailis Drive entry from Brand Highway is notably lacking.  Building another structure at this iconic and picturesque location, and further cluttering up the Obelisk-Leander Point skyline, will be another fundamental change to this precinct and the foreshore.  We think this points to the tensions within the overall precinct design considerations, tensions that can be reduced to a degree by deleting the floating restaurant and the visitor centre from the plan (see Figure 11).

Landing Place sub-precinct (currently northern part of Obelisk Precinct, suggested new precinct – see Vision and Key Features – Five precincts – page 1)

Key design considerations: 

The design considerations include ‘provide additional parking for cars, caravans and boat trailers’ and ‘formalise beach access for vehicles’.  The plan shows a hard-surface vehicle access ramp onto the beach that separates the southern part of the Landing Place beach from the northern part, and also shows a curving sea wall that will, in effect, extend the current rubble sea wall further northwards and result in the loss of the final part of the 1865 landing place.  We assume the new car parking in this precinct is parking relocated from the Core precinct, rather than additional parking?

Other considerations:

Herbert Street is a key street in the 1867 Town Plan that historically extended to and connected with the 1865 Landing Place beach. 

This was the original site for landing vessels in colonial Port Denison, and was also intended to hold livestock awaiting shipment, which is reflected in the broad width of the street in the 1867 town plan.  The Landing Place was superseded by the William Street Jetty in 1869 for commercial shipping, and in time came to be sheltered cove for fishing vessels as the fishing industry developed in the 1890s/1900s, and also as sea bathing became fashionable.  Herbert Street is the key axis for the southern end of the foreshore, although unfortunately this has been obscured in recent years with the construction of the ‘off the grid plan’ Coles Way and the incremental accumulation of a low rocky sea wall that has in turn necessitated the construction of a parallel ‘street’ for fishers to access the remaining Landing Place beach.  Your plan indicates Herbert Street will now be lost altogether by being absorbed into a new car park.  We suggest that the plan could prevent further obscuring of Herbert Street by redesigning this location to retain Herbert Street as a distinct, wide element in the landscape, for example by different coloured or textured paving and a stand-alone name plate, even if functionally included within a car park. 

The Landing Place precinct also functions as the visual foreground to the Obelisk, giving it a commanding presence over the town and harbour (see Figure 10) consistent with its visual, social and cultural significance.  This character needs to be maintained as far as possible (at least until the ‘boutique apartments’ development is completed).

Shipwreck Walk – see our comments at ‘Foreshore Park Precinct – other considerations’. 

Another option for the shipwreck walk plaques could be to place them in this precinct in a small pavilion or shelter that houses the plaques, and provides seating or reflective space.  It would be relevant to character of the precinct as the landing place (safe return) for vessels and being within the shadow of the Obelisk, intended to prevent shipwrecks

As noted earlier, the plan shows the construction of another sea wall and a sealed vehicle access right onto the surviving fragment of the Landing Place beach.  We suggest there is a need to review and where possible remove or reduce the rubble seawall and sheer volume of rocks and gravel that has been incrementally piled on, and buried, the beach around the Landing Place cove.  This beach is the 1865 Landing Place and every opportunity should be taken to recover and restore the beach.

Our concern is that an effect of the plan as it stands would be to encourage further reclamation of the Landing Place cove and beach with the consequent loss of a significant historic site without any particular off-set discernible.  We also question why a further sealed route is needed to extend across the beach to the water, and so further diminish the extent of the surviving beach?

We suggest that the vehicle barrier labelled ‘jetty poles’ be relabelled ‘bollards’ or something similar.  Our concern is that the label will be misconstrued as referring to an actual historic jetty ruin.  This will not only be incorrect but may be used in the future by proponents of dismantling the surviving ruins of the actually historic William Street jetty who may argue that another ‘historic jetty’ already exists, regardless of any historical inaccuracy in such a claim.


Generally, the strategies and actions in the plan can be supported, but there are some exceptions as noted below.

The natural crescent curve of the Arurine Bay shoreline and the original 1867 segmented grid plan for the town should be recognised and respected as the key underlying design principle.

Areas of surviving natural foreshore vegetation need to be included in the plan, and the guiding principle should be to promote their conservation and prevent further loss. 

The extent of watered lawns on beach sand needs to be contained and ideally reduced, and alternatives identified.

Local and State heritage items should be clearly marked on the plan.

Structures that are proposed for removal should be marked on the plan.

The Grannies Beach vertical sea wall could be replaced by a stepped sea wall reflecting the natural form of the beach foredune.

The views across the Foreshore Park between Point Leander Drive and the Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-op building need to be kept open and not obscured.

The proposed Pavilion should be relocated to Option 1, and the site shown on the plan should be part of an open William Street plaza.

The site of Denison Hall could be interpreted within the William Street plaza layout.

The proposed playground should be moved to the southern side of the Pavilion Option 1 site, in the vicinity of the proposed sea pool to which it has a logical relationship.

The proposal to reclaim a large area of new land from the harbour in the Foreshore Core precinct between the William Street jetty ruins and the New Samuel Street Jetty needs much more prominent public discussion and awareness, before any such decisions are made.

Surviving coastal vegetation in the Boat Ramp precinct and the Obelisk precinct should be conserved and not fragmented with cross-paths or incrementally removed.

The historical links between the Leander Point and Sandhills obelisks should be interpreted in the site treatments.

The significance of the Obelisk as a fishermen’s memorial and as a symbol of Denison’s identity needs to be recognised and taken seriously in the landscape treatments.

A cross-section drawing is needed of the Obelisk proposals to understand what is proposed.  Maintaining clear sightlines and views (short and long) to the Obelisk from along the foreshore, including its southern end, should be a design principle.

A question of whether providing a larger platform for vehicles to park at the Obelisk, and whether parking should be returned to the street level only, needs more public discussion.

The proposed floating restaurant in the Landing Place cove and visitor information centre on the Point should be deleted from the plans.

The Herbert Street and William Street axes need to be clearly interpreted and understood in the landscape treatments, not obscured.

The incremental reclamation of land from the Harbour in the Landing Place cove and along the Foreshore Core precinct shoreline, and elsewhere, needs to be comprehended and receive more public discussion as to whether it should continue and what are its limits.

Attachment 1: IDHS Comments on Irwin Local Heritage Survey review, Item 087 provided to the Shire 30 September 2020

Place Number: 087 Place Name: Moreton Bay Fig Trees, site of Tennis Courts and Bush Shelter
Amendments: Name: change to Old Denison Foreshore and Avenues of Fig Trees Precinct Other names: include: Site of Tennis Courts, Site of Bush Shelters, Samuel Street Figs, Point Leander Drive Figs, Marine Terrace Figs, Dongarra Beach Fig Trees Description: amend as shown: The Port Old Denison fForeshore precinct is bounded by the site of the Fishermen’s Hall (Place No 070) to the north, the Leander Point Obelisk (Place No 081) to the south, the fishing boat harbour to the west and the west side of Point Leander Drive to the east, and also includes the jinker park precinct bounded by Samuel Street, Albatross Lane, Leitch Street and the east side of Point Leander Drive.  The key visual elements in the precincts are the 14 mature fig trees lining Point Leander Drive plus the 3 mature fig trees lining Samuel Street.  The site of the tennis courts is beneath the car park to the south of the Fishermen’s Hall site, and the site of the Bush Shelter is partly beneath the brick pavilion and partly beneath the adjoining car park.  The only section of surviving natural foreshore vegetation, mostly coastal spinifex (Spinifex sericeus) within the harbour occupies part of the western boundary of the foreshore precinct.  The eastern boundary is lined with a row of mature Moreton Bay Fig Trees.  Note: the site of the Tennis Courts and the Bush Shelter Sheds were previously separately listed.  They were included with the Moreton Bay Fig Trees to create this place record. History: Shelter sheds – 2nd sentence, amend as shown: ‘…west end of the shelters, now the Beach Pavilion site.’; Tennis Courts – 1st sentence, amend as shown: ‘…the south west side of the customs shed (Fishermans Hall) Fishermen’s Hall site (Place No 070) in c1936.’ Statement of Significance: replace text with this text: ‘The Old Denison Foreshore and Avenues of Fig Trees precinct is of historic significance for its key role in the development of Port Denison as a seaside resort during the early-mid twentieth century when it was the site of bush shelter sheds, camping and caravan sites and associated facilities, and recreational sporting facilities, notably tennis courts.  The avenue of fig trees on Point Leander Drive are of high aesthetic significance for contributing to the ‘boulevard’ character of the street, and for their stately forms, linear planting and expansive shade that contribute to the picturesque character of this part of the foreshore.  The smaller avenue of figs on Samuel Street are also of aesthetic significance for providing an eastwest counterpoint to the Point Leader Drive figs and for their own forms and linear planting that demarcate the southern edge of the jinker park and visually extend the foreshore open space into the built-up central section of Port Denison.  The fig avenues, like their Dongara counterparts (Place No 035), are evidence of the ‘city beautiful’ philosophy, albeit planted a generation later.’ Management Category: change from 2 to 1, replace standard Category 2 “Considerable Significance” text with standard Category 1 “Exceptional Significance”.

Attachment 2: IDHS Comments on Irwin Local Heritage Survey review, Item 081 provided to the Shire 30 September 2020

Place Number: 081 Place Name: Obelisk, Plaques and Site of Obelisk
Amendments: Name: change to ‘Leander Point Obelisk with memorial plaques and Sandhills Obelisk ruins’ Other names: Denison Beacons, Denison Lights, Fishermen’s Memorial Photograph: include photo of Sandhills Obelisk ruin, supplied by IDHS, date 22/9/18, caption Ruins of Sandhills Obelisk Place details: include details for Sandhills Obelisk – Reserve Number or Crown land ? – GPS 29.276584 114.929966 Description: text: 1st sentence, amend as shown: ‘The Fishermen’s Memorial Leander Point Obelisk is …’; last sentence replace entirely with ‘The Sandhills Obelisk was built at the same time and with the same materials, with larger dimensions (base 4 metres x 4 metres over two tiers to 2.2m in height, surmounted by a pyramid 9 metres high), that could be aligned with the Leander Point Obelisk for a safe passage by ships and fishing boats through the reefs.  The Sandhills Obelisk was seriously damaged in c1974 with explosives, but the ruins remain in situ with the pyramid stones in a roughly linear pattern stretching south-westerly from the base along the sand ridge.  The hollow interior of the obelisk remains evident in the base ruin.’ History: 2nd sentence, amend as shown: ‘… the tender of convict contractor Richard Sparkes… two obelisks, which were major components of the convict-built infrastructure in Port Denison during then late 1860s when it was envisaged the harbour would become a significant maritime port in the coastal and Indian Ocean trade.’, 4th sentence, amend as shown: ‘The second obelisk Sandhills Obelisk, situated in the nearby sand hills, on a sand ridge 1.4 kilometres east of the Leander Point Obelisk, is believed to be in a ruined condition, is currently a ruin having been demolished seriously damaged with explosives at the time the breakwater was constructed in 1974 (Place No 088).’ Statement of Significance: 1st sentence, amend as shown: ‘The Port Denison Leander Point Obelisk has….’; last sentence: amend as shown: “… a popular tourist destination, and for uninterrupted views from the foreshore back to the Leander Point Obelisk as an emblem of Port Denison’s distinct identity.  The Leander Point Obelisk is a rare surviving example of its type in Western Australia.  The Sandhills Obelisk ruin is also highly valued by the community for its historical significance as a component of the former two-obelisk system of navigation through the nearby reefs for ships and fishing boats, and for its aesthetic values as a romantic ruin, still visible on the skyline from the Leander Point Obelisk, and for the extensive views from the place over Port Denison and the surrounding sandhills countryside.  The two obelisks as a pair of places have high historic value as evidence of the convict labour employed in constructing the 1860s maritime infrastructure of Port Denison.   Management recommendation: add ‘Should the opportunity arise, (a) consider supporting a historically accurate reconstruction of the Sandhills Obelisk; and (b) revise the planning controls within the view line between the two obelisks to impose a height

Attachment 3: Some Useful References


IROB 2299, ‘Opening of Obelisk 1979’, in Shipwreck File, Room 4, Cabinet 3

IROB 0803, ‘Program – Inaugural Dongara Lobster Festival’, 1973, Room 4, File 01

IROB 2185, ‘Shipwreck Walk – Preparation and Organisation’, 2004, Room 4, Cabinet 1

IROB 0972, ‘Fishing Industry File’, Room 4, Cabinet 2

IRPL 0687, ‘Fishing Boat Harbour’


Baskerville, Bruce, Port Denison 1850 -1915 and the Rimmer Sequence as a Model for Port Development, UWA 1989, unpublished

CHRMAP Steering Committee, Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Plan (CHRMAP), Shire of Irwin, Dongara June 2016

One Small Port, Three Names: A History of the Dongara port, IDHS, Dongara 2009

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